Sunday, 8 April 2007

Our Good Friday Feast

Well this took me a good couple hours to prepare, but oh so worth it - but as it was gobbled up fast, needless to say, I didn't have time to hunt around for the camera to visually document my I will attempt to describe my efforts for you.

Firstly, I made an aoili, for those who do not know what this is a mayonnaise loaded with garlic, squeeze of lemon juice and S&P and I let this sit in the fridge to allow all the flavours to infuse and intermingle whilst I prepared the rest of the meal.

Had a few squid tubes, which I cleaned up and then cut into calamari rings, these were then crumbed in breadcrumbs and gently cooked in hot oil until golden and crisp.
Peeled and cut some potatoes into cafe style thick chips, rinsed off excess starch and dried them.
Then I lowered these into the hot oil and cooked until they were crisp and gold on the outside and the insides were fluffy - the perfect chip!

After cooking the chips and draining any excess oil, I tipped them into a large bowl, dredged them in the rosemary salt I made and tossed them until they were coated in this delectably flavoured salt - they were divine - I don't think I could ever go back to regular salted chips!

To make my rosemary salt, I just threw into my mortar and pestle; a fistful of sea salt flakes, a couple branches worth of rosemary and some fresh lemon zest - and just pounded this until it resembled 'green salt'..this is an idea from one of the Jamie Oliver cook books, which one I couldn't tell you, they just seem to all blend into one big book now!

I also served this with the simplest of green salads..some lettuce leaves, herbs, olive oil, sea salt, cracked black pepper and some lemon juice...easyyyyyy and so yummy.

I assembled some calamari rings on the plate and balanced some rosemary salted cafe style chips next to the calamari, with a dollop of the aoili for dipping. Salad was served in a wooden salad bowl in the middle of the table for all to help themselves!..

"Sizzler" Style Toast

Have always enjoyed that toast you get from I have recreated it here...turned out nice and golden and was gobbled up by my boys (My big boy and my little boy;) in record time!!!


  • 4 slices thick bread
  • 1 Tb butter
  • 2 Tb canola oil
  • 1/2 C grated parmesan cheese
  1. Butter both sides of bread.
  2. Sprinkle the grated parmesan cheese on a plate and press in the buttered bread to coat both sides.
  3. Ensure even coverage.
  4. Heat oil in a pan (ensure pan is well oiled for each piece of bread).
  5. Fry both sides of bread, turning once.
  6. Once golden brown - serve.

Very excited!

I have just been outside rejuventating my vegetable/herb patch..I have just kept it very simple this time around, and planted a whole bunch of red gourmet lettuce, green gourmet lettuce, genovese basil, sweet basil and some chives...My theme is a 'living salad' garden so I can go downstairs and pick my leaves and herbs as needed..

I am hoping to get a bigger area very shortly to grow much more so this will be great, I was growing more at one stage but with the severe water restrictions here in SE QLD well one must be very careful how much water one uses..BUT if I am careful and frugal with my water usage and water at the end of the day when evaporation levels are at their least - we should do OK!

So I was going to add a pic but really who wants to look at a photo of uninteresting dirt? I will wait until there is some action and I will take first snaps of the first signs of growth and every couple of weeks thereafter..WATCH THIS SPACE to see the progress of my living salad bowl!!

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Hot Cross Buns

I got around to making my hot cross buns today - and after much research, decided to go with the recipe from the BBC..which seems the nicest I have seen.

They say to use lemon zest, but being out of lemons *shock, horror!* I had to use an orange which has worked lovely. I also grinded my own cloves and cinnamon for the 'allspice' and man, did it smell fragrant and heavenly, absolutely divine!

So here is the recipe for the hot cross buns :
And here are the photos of mine I took this afternoon..let me tell you - they are the yummiest, spiciest, fluffiest hot cross bun I HAVE ever eaten - once you try homemade you will never go back to the horrid store bought thing..ughhh yuck!
The recipe yielded 12 so I froze 6 and kept 6 out - hopefully they will last until Sunday!

Monday, 2 April 2007

Nonna's Sugo Di Carne ("Sauce of Meat"/Bolognese)

This is simply the best Bolognese sauce you will ever make. Don't be surprised if people on the street raise their noses in wonder as they pass your kitchen. The aroma in your house will be incredible, so be prepared for total greatness!

I was raised on this food, so many memories surround this meal for me. Now, I am raising my kids on the same food I was raised on - good italian cooking, so this recipe, passed on to me from my Mum, and to her, from her Mum (my Nonna) is being passed on to my kids - they LOVE it, so Grazie Nonna - milione baci per voi! xox

  • 1 kg lean minced beef
  • 1 large brown onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 Tb olive oil 6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 medium celery stick, finely chopped
  • 1 C dry white wine (yes, I use white or red, doesn't matter)
  • 2 tins (400g each) whole peeled tomatoes
  • 3 heaped Tb tomato paste
  • 2 C water
  • sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
  • handful of fresh basil, torn (if you have some)
  1. Chop onions, carrots and celery finely, set aside.
  2. Chop garlic, set aside.
  3. Heat a pan on medium high heat, put in a lug of olive oil and add the chopped vegetables and garlic.
  4. Saute this briefly until the onions turn opaque.
  5. Add mince, break mince up, keep stirring and brown thoroughly.
  6. Add 1 cup of white wine, this will create a wicked sizzle and will deglaze the pan and soften all the flavoursome bits on the bottom of the pan.
  7. Allow it to reduce by approximately half and then add the salt and pepper and tomato paste, letting the tomato paste cook down a little bit.
  8. Add tomatoes and water - put lid on and allow to slowly simmer for 2-3 hours, stirring occassionally.
  9. Just before serving, tear up the fresh basil and stir it through the sauce!
  10. Serve with steaming hot pasta, and a good shaving of parmegiano reggiano..

What the well dressed olive/cocktail is wearing...

Stumbled upon this website the other day, very impressed, what a talented lady and what gorgeous items she is handcrafting and plying on the web..check her items out at:

Absolutely gorgeous and the price, well a bit on the costly scale BUT they are real sterling silver, would last a lifetime and are UNIQUE and INDIVIDUAL! Would make great wedding, engagement, anniversary, 18th or 21st gifts!

Lennon's Salad

Well, I named this simple salad after my 3.5 year old son, Lennon. He just loves this salad and scoffs it down like a little piggy whenever I make it...which can only be a good thing, after all - what is better than seeing your child pigging out on a SALAD???

Nice and healthy and a good alternative to a creamy coleslaw (less calories thats even better!)

  • 1/2 head of cabbage (or 1/4 if it is an extremely BIG one!), finely shredded
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 40g chunk of cheese, grated (tasty reduced fat)

Dressing :

  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/4 C white vinegar
  • olive oil, a few good glugs
  • 1Tb chives, fresh or dried - whatever you have
  • sea salt flakes and freshly ground cracked black pepper
  1. In a bowl, add your shredded cabbage and grated carrot and cheese...
  2. Combine all the dressing ingredients in a clean jar, screw lid on and shake baby shake, then tip this glorious concoction over the willing and ready vegetables.
  3. Toss with your hands and serve - yummmmmm! (Lennon and I just share it straight out of the bowl together, try it, it's fun!)
** This is just a simple version of the salad, but other things we have used before is half green cabbage/half red cabbage..thinly sliced celery...halved cherry tomatoes (red, yellow, tigers whatever)...toasted sesame seeds add an extra dimension too!

Yiouvetsi (Lamb, tomato and risoni bake)

Yiouvetsi is one of several recipes that takes their name from the dish actually used in cooking. The "yiouvetsi" is a large, usually round, deep clay dish. This recipe may be made in any oven-proof baking dish, but clay or earthenware is preferred, as it imparts a delicious, earthy aroma to the stew.

I love this, it is pure comfort food...hope you enjoy it as much as we do~!

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium sized leg of lamb (1.8kg-2kg))
  • 2 Tb lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp greek oregano
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 C brown onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 C water
  • 1/2 C dry red wine
  • 2 C chopped peeled plum tomatoes
  • 2 C low fat beef or chicken stock
  • 2 cups risoni (or orzo) pasta
  • 1 C kefalotiri cheese, grated (if you cannot find this traditional greek cheese, use parmesan or romano)
  1. Preheat the oven to 230c.
  2. Lightly oil a large, deep earthenware baking dish. Place the lamb on a roasting rack inside the dish and rub with 2 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and oregano.
  3. Finely chop the garlic and sprinkle, together with the onions, on top and around the lamb.
  4. Place meat in oven and reduce temperature to 180c.
  5. Roast for 1 hour.
  6. Pour water and wine into roasting pan and continue cooking the meat, basting every 15 minutes, for another hour, or until roasted to desired doneness.
  7. Remove meat to a platter and cover with a tin-foil tent to keep it warm.
  8. About 10 minutes before removing the lamb, bring tomatoes and chicken broth to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan.
  9. Add risoni or orzo and return to a boil.
  10. Just after removing the meat, pour the contents of the pot into the roasting pan, raise temperature to 200c and continue cooking the risoni or orzo for another 25-30 minutes, until tender.
  11. Add water during cooking if necessary. To serve, place risoni or orzo on a large serving bowl with the meat, sliced, in the centre.
  12. Sprinkle pasta with grated cheese and serve.